As a non-believer, with no recourse for returning to faith ever again, there is still value in watching debates over the claims of Christianity, if for no other reason than having all I’d taken for granted debunked bit by bit, showing the susceptibility of the human mind to absorb lies, if they are inculcated early enough in life.
I realise why the issue of blind faith is so important in Abrahamic religions – as religious institutions are aware that merely accepting doubt is a guaranteed path to non-theism. If you tear down one brick, admitting that at least one claim of said religion is absurd, the rest will soon crumble, like a house of cards.
It is enough to realise Noah never filled his ark with elephants, penguins, kangaroos and tarantulas, which somehow would’ve made their way from all corners of the Earth and all terrestrial ecosystems to one boat in the Middle East, to understand that some things in the Bible are undoubtedly fictional. And from there, this shadow of doubt is cast upon each claim it makes. Which is why apologists do their best to uphold even such laughable absurdities as Noah’s ark.
Those who still ardently believe do so because that is their core intention and no logical argument seems to be able to shake it. Nonetheless, there are many who took the path of intense Bible study and came out of it as atheists.
Watching Christians debate reminds me of a futile, sweat-inducing strife, the inability to let go of a long disproved concept, hanging on to it by any putrid, disheveling thread. In this strife, so-called holy texts are taken apart letter by letter, in the frantic search for historical facts, logic or meaning. And although the results are always flimsy, there is always some detail to imbue with sheer emotion, to be presented as a wonderful discovery.
It reminds me in a way of the inability to let go of a dead person, taking it to a pathological level.
You can embalm a cadaver, sit in on a chair, groom it, speak to it and even mimic the voice of the dead person to speak in his or her name. You can look for signs of communication, interpreting every trifle with great enthusiasm. You can deprive yourself of sleep to induce a trance and hallucinate, thinking you’ve had a real conversation.Yet undoubtedly, this is the product of your own mind, and you will never achieve this real time communication, as much as you may stage or mimic it.
If this person’s energy or soul exists out there, in a different layer of reality, it’s impossible for you to know with certainty. And whilst this is subject to imagination and speculation, one thing is clear: what you have in front of you and speak to is a cadaver which cannot hear you or answer back. That direct communication is over; it only carries on in your head.
It’s the same with this relationship with an absent, silent God you have no proof of (as by default you cannot have any). You can interpret coincidences as signs; you can thank him for helping you find your keys as someone, the same instant, needlessly dies of cancer across the road from you, but you imagine God is there for your every need, however small. You can engage in role play by praying and pretending to know what God’s message is, when observing what happens next, interpreted as concrete results or lack thereof – either way, “God’s will”.
Needless to say, this is a terrible waste of time and energy.
And century after century, it carries on – the attempt to put flesh on the imaginary bones of an imaginary God; to manifest him somehow.
Many former believers admit to having difficulty letting go of the imaginary friend called Jesus (not very strangely, no one seems to be missing Jehovah that much, when starting to lose their faith). Jesus embodies their hope, their love and feeling of purification through self-sacrifice; their resilience. These are all beautiful concepts and it is heinous of religion to get people to place them outside of themselves, to make them feel that when they let go of this Jesus character they also lose what made life worth living for them.
Ample documentation exists to prove Christianity is yet another man-made system of beliefs, achieved by borrowing elements of older religions. But even in the face of that, Christians refuse to let go of the delusion – because they feel they’d be losing a part of themselves.
That is the surreptitious, perverse nature of it all, which keeps this machine going.